Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cooking Meme

Quiche Lorraine by Ron

Another meme folks!  This one is a food meme. I stole borrowed this from Cubby of Patently Queer.
1. Can you cook? If yes, do you like to cook?
Damn right I can cook!  From my earliest memory I wanted to cook.  When I was in high school during the Fifties I wanted to be in the Home Economics class ('Home Ec') but this was back in the Bad Old Repressive Uptight Eisenhower Years where the boys' place was Shop and the gals place was Home Ec. I used to help my Mom cook (who had a very limited repertoire) and then when I got married to Bill I taught myself from cookbooks.  I am the best cook I know, par none and I make no excuses for bragging about it.  I cook better than any restaurant I've ever eaten at.  I am my best cook which is one of the joys of my life.  By the way, my first cookbook was "The Joy of Cooking."  Appropriate.
Ron's signature apple pie
2. When do you eat with your whole family?
I eat alone.  My husband Bill prefers to eat at a different time than I do.  Once in a great while I will invite our friend Bob C. over for dinner and I will whip up one of my specialities and we will all sit down at the table together for a kumbuya meal.  I normally eat at 7 to 8 pm at night at the kitchen counter  while watching TV.  We have never used our dining room since we moved into our new home in 2006. When we have company (Bob C.), I set the dishes out and we eat at the table in the kitchen, which has the best view of our backyard.
I eat at the counter in the corner of the kitchen 
3. What do you eat for breakfast?
Corn Chex with 2% milk and bananas or strawberries when they are in season.

Ron's breakfast - everyday

4. What do you eat on weekdays?
Lunch is Doritas Buffalo chips and a hummus wrap of either spinach and artichoke or red pepper sprinkled with feta cheese.  'Dessert' is a handful of Diamond glazed walnuts (which I am trying to wean myself off of to drop five pounds.)
My guilty pleasure (and the reason I have a 'tube' around my waist)

5. How often do you eat out (in a restaurant)?
About once a week.  I like to eat out but I am no fan of restaurant food. Most of it is overpriced hog swill (my term).  I eat out for the camaraderie of my friends.  Once in a great while I will find a restaurant that serves good, fresh food but it is always obscenely overpriced ($60 inluding tip last time for a medallion of pork which really was 'fork tender' - but I could have done the same thing at home.)  Where I live now I am at a disadvantage because it is a beach resort and the restaurants can get away with the Sysco pre-cooked, tasteless packages of overpriced food due to the heavy tourist traffic.  Off season most of the restaurants are closed and the ones who are open serve the same bland concoctions.  
Cracker Barrel - it's the friends not the food
6. How often do you order delivery/take-out?
Never.  Ever since I heard that my co-worker's boyfriend who worked in a pizza shop (a national chain) performed a sexual act on a take-out pizza with his bored co-workers for laughs, I have no appetite for the Russian Roulette of take-out meals.  Ever take a look at what who works at take-outs?  I rest my case.
Beware of what's in the bag

7. Regarding no. 5 and 6: Say there weren’t financial reasons, would you do this more often?

It is expensive to eat out but I can afford it (as long as I have my present part-time job) and it is worth it to me to spend time with my friends.

Well off retirees dining at MIXX in Rehoboth - expensive but good
8. Are there any “standard dishes” you serve regularly?
I serve myself a 'standard dish' of Caesar Salad with either a chicken an vegetable casserole or eggplant casserole.  Once in a great while I make a slow cooker, fork tender,  beef stew with white wine.  I have either French Fries or oven baked potatoes every night.  I also have ONE dessert a day, taken before I go to bed.  Usually this is a cake which I vary between lemon pound cake, apple cake or pineapple cake. 

Hawaiien Wedding Cake - Ron Style
9. Have you ever cooked for more than 6 persons?
Very, very rare.  Last time I did it was thirty-five years ago for my brother, his wife and two daughters, my Mother and my husband Bill.  It is doubtful that I will ever cook for more than three people again in my lifetime. 

1969 - Philadelphia, PA home - Coq au Vin served
10. Do you cook every day?
Every day, without fail.  I cannot stand prepacked, frozen food.  It is poison.  It makes me sick and I cannot digest it.  I appreciate the convenience but if the food makes me sick (no matter how often they put "No Perservatives" and "All Natural" on the package), that cardboard food still makes me sick.  I would rather have a bowl of cereal with fresh fruit than ingest those chemicals.
Dinner is serve at our home - very rare

11. Have you ever tried recipes from blogs?
Yes, I always try new recipes.  Sometimes I find some great ones.  

Lemon Pound Cake from a blog - scrumptious!
12. Who cooks more frequently at your home?
I do ALL THE COOKING in this family.  Only one time in our forty-seven years of domesticity has my husband Bill cooked.  It was a DISASTER.  Bill usually eats peas right out of a can with a large dollop of  mayonnaise, which is what he prefers.  He eats 'lunch' at 10 am in the morning.  'Dinner' for Bill is 4 pm in the afternoon.  I eat breakfast at 7 am in the morning.  Lunch at 1 pm in the afternoon and dinner at 7 or 8 pm at night.  We're on different eating schedules.  When I bake a large casserole, Bill will take a couple of large serving spoons in his Eating Bowl with TWO dollops of mayonnaise.  That is his special treat.  He likes my cooking but has asked me not to cook too much because he wants to lose weight and he can't if I'm cooking all this good food.  

Christmas dinner at Mom and Pop's 1969
13. And who cooks better?
No contest, me.  Yes, I'm bragging.  No false modesty here when it comes to who is the best cook in this household.  It is me.  I cook the best casseroles, stews, soups, desserts, et al.  The only thing I don't cook is fish or any type of seafood because I hate seafood and the way it stinks up the house.  Bill loves seafood.  Our neighbor is a fisherman and he frequently brings Bill fish that he has already cooked. I also don't cook fried foods anymore because since we have an open area (Great Room) house, I don't want all that grease in our curtains and upholstery.  Plus, eating non fried foods is much healthier.  I even bake my French Fries. 

My signature oven baked potatoes in olive oil with skins - delicious!
14. Do you cook totally different compared to your mother/parents?
Yes, my mother had a very limited cooking repertoire.  She made what my father liked with was basically meat and potatoes.  She did make very good biscuits though which I have never been able to duplicate.  I never had spaghetti or any food with garlic until I left home and was in the Army.  I never ate at a restaurant until I was in the Army.  After I taught myself to cook, my Mother tried and loved many of my recipes, except the ones with garlic in them which I occasionally would sneak in to play a prank on her.  My Mother did make good salmon patties which I haven't done...yet.  It's seafood and I'm afraid I'll stink up my hands when I make it.  I can't stand a fishy smell, it gags me.  

My Mom making her salmon patties - she could do it with her eyes closed - this was the last time she did made them, she died shortly thereafter - I'm glad I have this picture of her smiling making her 'patties'
15. If yes, do you nevertheless eat at your parents?
My father used to make a good vegetable soup. And as I said before, Mom's biscuits were the best plus she made a good stuffing for turkey and gravy.  Both my parents are gone now.

My father making his signature fresh garden veggie soup
16. Are you a vegetarian or could you imagine being one?
Absolutely!  I love vegetables.  Eggplant casserole is my favorite.  I've had it the last three nights in a row.  The meat I eat is boneless chicken but I can't eat a whole half breast anymore.  I cut it into one inch chunks and mix  it with fresh vegetables (not the frozen bags of tasteless veggies).  I haven't eaten a steak in over fifty years.  Prime rib? Once at a Christmas Party dinner I was sitting next to my co-worker Christine and she ordered a prime rib, rare.  I took one look at that big slab of pink pulsating meat and asked her "Are you going to eat that?"  She flashed a big smile on her cherubic face and said "Every last bite!"  I almost fainted.  

What I feel like doing when I see a 'prime' rib 
17. What would you like to cook which you haven’t dared to make yet?
The same answer as Cubby, a souffle.
18. Do you prefer cooking or baking?
I like both but I do more cooking than baking except for cakes.  I don't eat bread anymore. I did make wonderfully tasty yeast rolls but I have weaned myself totally from bread.  I don't need it. 
19. What is your greatest misery in the kitchen?
Years ago when I used to have company over for dinner to try and impress them I was making a Beef Stroganoff.  While my company of three was sitting at the table waiting me to put the finishing touches (stirring in the sour cream) I opened the door to the cabinet above the stove to reach for a serving plate for the beef stroganoff and a glass pie dish fell out right into the pan of beef stroganoff!  I couldn't believe it!  Here I had rubbed each piece of thinly sliced, expensive, tender beef individually with garlic and had everything JUST RIGHT and this pie dish crashes into the frying pan where my beef stroganoff was residing.  I tried to pick out the shards of glass from the pie pan all the while assuring my company 'all was well'.  My hubby Bill saw what I was doing and how upset I was (I was very young at the time and felt the need to impress my company unlike now...whatever, whatever) and he wisely came out into the kitchen and, which he was patting me on the back to calm me down, said
"Ron, you can't serve this. It has glass in it."  I tried to convince him that I got out all the pieces of glass but was unsuccessful.  The only other food I had in the house was some of those awful frozen veal patties that tasted like the tongues of shoes.  THAT meal was my BIGGEST DISASTER every.  I remember it as clearly today as I did that day about 45 years ago.  Lesson learned, if you break a pie dish in the meal you're serving, don't serve it to your guests because you might injure or kill them.

 20. What do you dislike?
SEAFOOD!  Anything cooked with seafood reminds me of the flotsam that is left behind on the beach after the tide goes out.  Sorry folks, but there it is.  No offense to my female friends but as a gay guy, anything that smells fishy gags me.  This gay guy anyway.  I know there are gay guys who LOVE seafood.  I ain't one of them.  The irony is that I now live at a seaside beach resort and other than chicken, that's all the restaurants have to offer down here...SEAFOOD.  No thank you.  Eggplant Parmesan, now you're talking.
I found this baby shark on the beach during my walk last summer, probably ended up in a local restaurant bouillabaisse soup which they charged an arm and a leg


Don Voth said...

I admire your cooking skills, I guess. I don't cook at all. I got a new stove two years ago and it's only been on two times—to heat up things, like Hor d'oeuvres.

Mark said...

All that food looks good but I don't have a clue how to make it. So when are you going to cook for me? I say we open up that dining room of yours.

Ron said...

That dining room is still a virgin Mark. Never been used. You would be the first.

Mark H said...

Nicely DONE.......... Cooking IS rewarding..... we don't do it every day....BUT when we do, we usually cook enough for leftovers.... Must be the mormon upbringing....

Ron said...

Thank you Mark H. I always have leftovers now that I basically cook for myself.

Ron said...


I've always wanted to cook. One of my big regrets that I wasn't able to take home economics when I went to high school but you remember how it was back in the Fifties...very repressive with assigned roles for boys (shop) and girls (home ec.)

anne marie said...

that quiche looks FABU! and so does the lemon pound cake!

I rarely eat beef; I try to stick with chicken and fish (yes, FRESH FISH!).

and may I say you and bill have a lovely home? so inviting and open and welcoming!

Ur-spo said...

I love to cook; and I never get to do so.
I have collected piles of recipes and cookbooks for 'when I retire' and I will make something new each day. Alas, I sense this will never be.

Anonymous said...

I recognized long ago that so many of my habits and traits have to do with what I call "Second-hand Great Depression Mentality". I cannot leave food on my dinner plate, for example. I never really wanted for anything in my childhood, but the ghost of the Great Depression that my parents experienced hung over our lives as I was growing up. One of my favorite dishes to this day is salmon croquettes. I was only told late in my life that salmon croquettes was a thrifty meal trick from the Thirties, since canned salmon was a bargain. Mashed potatoes, green peas, and salmon croquettes: I'm salivating right now while I'm typing. Your picture of your mother with her patties brought this all to mind. Thanks!

Ron said...

It will happen Spo. If you can, take early retirement (50 or 55), you will never regret it and you will find your life so different. While I always enjoyed my jobs I find in retirement, where I can do anything I want to, the best time of my life. My body may be older but I am more knowledgeable, more secure (financially) and calmed down (moderation) that I find life so much more fulfilling now. You will find the same. Guaranteed, you will never be bored.

Ron said...


My Mother was a child of the Great Depression (she was born in 1923) whose mother died when she wasn't quite two years old. She told me she used to run home from school at lunch time because she was too embarassed for her classmates to see that she didn't have anything to eat. You can bet she passed on to me the Waste Not, Want Not attitude of children who grew of the Depression who had children of their own. I used to love my Mom's salmon patties. I've never made them but I'm going to attempt to make them just like she did. This picture is special to me because at the end she was suffering from dementia and paranoria. She was living with my brother and his wife and daughter who were taking care of her (we wanted to keep her out of a nursing home.) During a really bad episode my brother asked her to make some of her salmon patties and it worked! It brought a smile to her face. And John said those salmon patties were just as good as they always were when she was well. Sometimes things just work out right.

Cubby said...

I loved this meme and all your answers. Eggplant Parmesan is one of my favorites. Now I got a taste for it. Something tells me it's going to be in belly in two weeks or less :-)

Ron said...


I never had Eggplant Parmesan until I was well into my 30's. I fell in love with it immediately It is still my favorite dish. I like it with French Fries an a salad. My Perfect Meal.

Ron said...

Anne Marie,
My quiche is FABULOUS! If I do say so myself (no false modesty here). The lemon pound cake is superfluous too. Thank you for your generous compliment on the 'homeyness' of our domicile. We have both worked long and hard to have our home comfortable in our senior years. It is still a work in progress though. Always room for improvements.